Even though we’re not in December yet, it’s never too early to start planning your next office holiday bash. In fact, that’s an often-overlooked tip and a great start to our list. A lot of times, companies do not give themselves nearly enough time. They start planning a month or two before the party, and have to rush everything. You will always get the best results however when you give yourself plenty of time to plan the perfect holiday party! So early autumn or even late summer is a great time to get going on those plans. Here are 7 more office holiday party planning tips!
Decide on a fun theme.
It is easy to skip this step with a holiday party, because you may think you already have a theme. While the holidays are a fine theme on their own, you can make each party stand out from last year’s if you come up with an additional theme to work in! For example, a Trip Around the World party is a lot of fun; you can feature holiday cuisine from different countries. A casino night is always a great choice. People often enjoy dressing up for a holiday party, and a game night makes for another good excuse. A formal holiday ball is another fun idea. Selecting a theme early on in the planning process provides you with some guidance for the rest.
Indoors or outdoors?
Another thing you should think about well in advance is whether to hold your party indoors or outdoors. Here in the Bay Area we have lovely weather throughout the year, so an outdoor party might be exactly what you want. Then again, weather can be unpredictable in December, so an indoor party is often a safer bet. There are tons of amazing venues to choose from around here—the Exploratorium, the Children’s Discovery Museum, the Kohl Mansion, and others!
Thinking of holding the office party at the actual office? Unless you are on a really tight budget, that could be a waste of resources. Why? There are a couple of good reasons. One is that employees usually want a break from the corporate setting and want to have some genuine fun. The other is the image associated with the same old office parties. Holding your party at a real venue shows your employees you truly care about their experience—and actually encourages them to do the same.
Consider supporting charity.
Holiday parties are often most memorable when they incorporate meaning as well as fun. The holidays are the perfect time of the year to support a charitable cause. There are many ways you can do this which are entertaining for everyone. For example, if you decide to host a casino night as your holiday party, the winnings can all be donated to a charity. Just as your employees enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes with the hard work they do each day for your company, they will feel satisfied at knowing they have achieved something important at the holiday party, especially if they had fun doing it!
Pay attention to what your employees want.
Do your employees consistently ask you for an improvement to the office, like a nice coffee machine? If so, consider purchasing one. Do they all talk about a trip they would like to take as a team? Think about actually doing it. Also consider asking for feedback on your party planning as you go. If you are thinking about several different themes or venues, send out a survey and ask your employees which they would enjoy the most. This can help ensure that your party is a success, and is also another way of letting your employees know that you care and that you are listening.
Try to be aware of the holidays your employees celebrate.
With small office parties, this is usually pretty easy, especially if everyone happens to celebrate Christmas. But if you have employees that you know celebrate other holidays, try and be as inclusive as you can. Get décor for Hanukah, Yule, or other festivities and set it up along with the Christmas décor. Send your employees the message that you respect all of their holiday traditions. If you are in doubt, throw a generic winter holiday party, and do not focus on Christmas or any one particular holiday. You want everybody to feel like they are being equally included.
Set the tone.
Every business has a different corporate culture, and that is going to have a big impact on your party’s tone and format. The tone you set for events also feeds back into that cycle though, and determines the culture of your company to some extent. You can control the tone of the event by choosing a format that makes sense. Want to keep things formal? Then try a party theme that encourages formal behavior from your employees. Consider a formal ball and nice place settings. Prefer to keep things casual and fun? Then a Hawaiian party or something similar might work better. The dress code will establish a large part of how your employees behave at your party, and so will the activities you plan, as well as the policy you set on drinking.
Do not try to do everything on your own.
One of the biggest rookie mistakes in planning office holiday parties is thinking you can take care of every detail yourself. Even with a really early start, that can be a big challenge, and odds are that your party planning staff has other responsibilities. Save time, money and headaches by bringing an event planning company onboard.